The plant communities that are a feature of Australian shallow wetlands reflect the dynamics of their flooding and drying patterns. Anthropogenic changes to wetlands at individual wetland, catchment and landscape scales can change availability of plant habitats and hence the diversity of wetland plants. Policies for conservation of wetlands and the need for integrating policy, management and science in their implementation are addressed as a way forward for conservation. The natural dynamics of wetland plants and wetlands in the landscape are discussed and their resilience considered as an indicator of response to change. Plant community responses to induced change from alteration of water quantity and delivery (timing, frequency, duration and variability of flooding and drying), water quality, invasions and grazing are demonstrated. The responses of wetland plants, communities and wetlands to different flooding and drying patterns from field observation, experimental testing in glasshouse, outdoor tank trials, field scale experimental wetlands and field manipulations are presented to show how research can form the basis of extrapolation and generalization which can be used for prediction of change. The maintenance of mosaics of wetlands is suggested as a way of conserving biodiversity and enhancing resilience of wetlands in the landscape. The need for collaboration between researchers and conservators to establish principles of precautionary management is proposed.

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